Tours of the Air Orchid Farm, one of Thailand’s best loved orchid markets, are a popular pastime in outer Bangkok. The orchid is an endearing image of Thailand, and, short of visiting the depths of Khao Sok National Park or parts of Chiang Mai province, touring Air is the best option to check out a variety of orchids grown in Thailand.
Air Orchid Farm is a fair way from the centre of Bangkok, spread over a large area off towards Nakhon Pathom. The farm covers an area of 120 rai (around 50 acres) and it churns out thousands of varieties of orchids, including many hybrid types, such as the red orchid and white orchid. Some orchids produce stunning blossoms year-round and there are multicoloured and freckled ones, too.
Swathes of orchids line the approach road to Air Orchid Farm and there’s a huge market on site, which is the main draw for tourists and wholesalers and in itself covers around an acre. Those on a tour can buy the orchids on view and prices start from as little as 20 baht (about 20 US cents) per plant/flower and can go to ten times this for the rarer types.
Orchid varieties, such as the beautiful cymbidium, are available for sale although visitors can simply view them and take pictures and are free to roam around at will. In fact, it is lovely just to wander around Air Orchid Farm, which often comes across as more of an exhibition, with keen workers ready to impart orchid knowledge for visitors.
In addition, there is a charming café set amid the orchids, where customers can sip complimentary coffee or sample delightful mochas and eat tasty snacks. Air Orchid Farm opens early in the morning and remains open until 17:30. As it is so far from the tourist areas of Bangkok (located about 40kms and an hour or so from Sukhumvit Road hotels), with the only viable alternative option in getting there being by expensive taxi, it pays to get on a tour.
Touring is the best way to get the most out of the trip as visitors not only get door-to-door transport, they also get to learn about the different types of orchids and their history. Along with Air Orchid Farm tours, a popular option is to combine the trip with a visit to Lam Phaya Floating Market, which is one of Bangkok’s alternative floating markets just a few kilometres to the northwest of the farm.